Tuesday, May 30, 2006

You're Invited!

You are invited to share in the outdoor wedding celebration of Courtney Palmer and Mark Williams on June 24th 2006 at 3:00 pm. There will be a lightly catered/potluck picnic following the ceremony (let us know if you want to bring something!) For anyone in town on June 23rd, we will be having a rehearsal dinner. Instead of rehearsing we will be setting up for the wedding. Both the wedding and the rehearsal dinner will take place at the Duff Family Farm:

3132 Laketon Rd.
Penn Hills, Pennsylvania

Monday, May 15, 2006

We're Getting Married!!!

We are so excited to be preparing for our much anticipated wedding day, for the celebration of our lifelong committment to each other. We feel so blessed and so grateful to be able to share this joy with you, our family and friends--thank you for all your love and support! We hope that all of the information below makes planning for your trip to Pittburgh a little easier, and please let us know if you have further questions or concerns. Just post a comment and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

Directions to the Wedding...

We have been so blessed by the generosity of the Duff family to allow us to celebrate our wedding on their family farm. Located in Penn Hills, the farm is now surrounded by neighborhoods and is easy to miss, so don't lose heart when trying to find a farm in the suburbs. Hopefully MapQuest can be of some help, or feel free to cut and paste the address into your favorite directions search engine, or you could even look it up on an old fashioned paper map!The address is 3132 Laketon Road; Penn Hills, PA 15235-4157. Unfortunately, parking is limited at the farm, so we have decided to ask our city friends to carpool as much as possible and for all of those coming to the wedding to park down the street at Hebron United Presbyterian Church, at 10460 Frankstown Road; Penn Hills, PA 15235. We will have a make-shift shuttle system, so after parking wait patiently to be picked up and driven down the hill to the Duff family farm.

Places To Stay...

For your convenience, we've held rooms at the Holiday Inn in Monroeville for the wedding weekend. You can view the hotel link at www.holiday-inn.com/monroeville or call 412.372.1022 to reserve your room- just make sure that you say you're with the Williams-Palmer party. We know that there are also rooms currently available at the Hampton Inn (412.380.4000) and the Comfort Inn Conference Center (412.244.1600), but these are not being held in our name. For those of you looking on your own for a place to stay, Monroeville is easily accessible to the farm, as is anything located on the east end of the city. For the more adventurous, there are many campgrounds east of the city in the Laurel Highlands and links to these and other state park resources can be located at www.dcnr.pa.us/stateparks/parks. And if you're hardpressed for cash and don't care where you sleep, let us know and we can hook you up with a couch in someone's basement or enough space in a back yard to set up a tent.

Wedding Gift Ideas...

We have thought long and hard about the issue of receiving wedding gifts and have finally decided not to register for gifts because we feel so blessed to have so much already. Your presence with us for our wedding celebration, and even just knowing that we can count on your prayers and support are the most blessed gifts that we could receive. However, we do understand that some of you may feel that you best show your love through the act of giving. For that reason we have decided to direct people toward the Kiva organization at www.kiva.org. By purchasing a gift card in our name through this amazing organization, a loan will be made to a small business in the developing world, helping the world's working poor make strides toward economic independence. And as the loan is repaid, we will receive the money to help us realize God's plan for our family. And so in giving this gift, the blessing is mulitiplied beyond measure. We also would love to encourage you to channel your gift-giving desires into homemade, heartspun creations. We cherish the stories and the heritage of our friends and family and would love anything from pictures, to letters, to stories, to whatever you feel could serve as a reminder of your constant support for us in our daily lives.

Things To Do in Pittsburgh...

From its parks and museums to its distinctive neighborhoods, we think that Pittsburgh is a real little gem of a city. For all of you out-of-towners, we thought that we'd list a few of our favorite spots and some links to Pittburgh directories so that you can leave with the proper appreciation of our beloved Pittburgh:
= The National Aviary = The Strip District (outdoor markets- best on Saturday!) = Mount Washington = The Children's Museum = The Carnegie Science Center = The Mattress Factory (art museum) = Ohiopyle State Park = Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater = Kennywood (one of "America's Finest Traditional Amusement Parks") = and the list goes on and on....
For more information about Pittsburgh's attractions, events, parks, or restaurants check out these helpful links:

About us...

For two and a half years now we have been living in Pittsburgh and have been growing more in love with the city and the people. Mark is working as a high school tutor and basketball coach at The Pittsburgh Project, a Christian non-profit on the city's northside, and loves building relationships with the students. He also helps care for the garden at The Project and has a growing passion for opening up more opportunities for urban gardening in the city's neighborhoods. Courtney is excited to have only one year left to finish her degree in Anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh. For the past two summers, she has interned with a non-profit farming initiative, Grow Pittsburgh, and has cherished the experience of learning more about farming, selling at market, and educating the community on the importance of local and sustainable agriculture. She is also working as a birth doula and loves the opportunity of loving and encouraging women as they make the transition into motherhood. After almost seven years of dating, Mark and Courtney are so excited (and relieved!) to be getting married and look forward to whatever adventures lie ahead!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Our Vision...

Quote for the day:

Be the change you want to see in the world.
- Gandhi

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Inspiration from Wendell Berry...

We first read this poem in a letter from a friend.
We liked it.
We hope you like it too.

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer--Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something
that wont compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who doesn't deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to the carrion-put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn't go. Be like a fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

--Wendell Berry

Sunday, January 22, 2006

A Simple Thought...

Here is a quote from a book that describes in much better words than my own, our vision for our future:

"He was right in saying that the only certain happiness in life is to live for others....

I have lived through much, and now I think I have found what is needed for happiness. A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one's neighbor--such is my idea of happiness. And then, on top of all that, you for a mate, and children, perhaps--what more can the heart of a man desire?"

(The quote is from Tolstoy's "Family Happiness" but I read it in Krakauer's "Into The Wild")

We love you all and hope you will join with us in celebrating our wedding.

peace and love,
mark & binga